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Professor Sven Mattys

Professor Sven Mattys

Professor Sven Mattys
BA(Bruxelles), PhD(NYState)

Honorary Professor

Area of research

Spoken word recognition

The Priory Road Complex,
Priory Road, Clifton BS8 1TU
(See a map)


My background is in experimental psycholinguistics. I am particularly interested in the perceptual, cognitive, and physiological mechanisms underlying spoken word recognition. Although the populations I have investigated so far (normal-hearing adults, hearing-impaired adults, and infants) vary widely in their quantitative and qualitative exposure to the spoken language, a number of research questions apply to all of them: How are novel spoken words learned? What is the time-course of speech processing? How is speech segmentation carried out? How are words represented in the lexicon? 


  • 2010 - Present: Professor of Psychology of Language. University of Bristol.
  • 2004 - 2010: Reader in Experimental Psychology. University of Bristol.
  • 2001 - 2004: Lecturer in Experimental Psychology. University of Bristol.
  • 1999 - 2000: Advanced Research Associate, Department of Communication Neuroscience, House Ear Institute, Los Angeles, CA.
  • 1997 - 1999: Postdoctorate, Johns Hopkins University, Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Baltimore, MD.
  • 1993 - 1997: Ph.D. in Psychology. State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY.
  • 1988 - 1993: License (B.A.) in Psychology. Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.

Activities / Findings

My current research direction focuses on speech segmentation and lexical processing in normal-hearing adults. Investigation tools include principally behavioral measures of speech perception and word recognition such as response accuracy, reaction times, and auditory illusions.


Experimental Psychology:

  • Director of Postgraduate studies
  • Year 1 lab classes
  • Year 3 Psychology of Language

PhD students supervised and co-supervised

  • Linda Stefansdottir, 2009-present, ESRC studentship
  • Olesya Rauch, 2007-present, Marie Curie "Sound to Sense" Research Training Network studentship.
  • Helen Miller, 2001-2009, NHS research and Development fund
  • Zeng Biao, 2003-2008, ORS Studentship


  • Psycholinguistics
  • Spoken-word recognition
  • Language acquisition

Processes and functions

  • perceptual
  • cognitive and physiological mechanisms underlying spoken-word recognition


  • Behavioural measurement techniques



School of Experimental Psychology

Other sites

Research themes


Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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